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Clinical Neurophysiology
Volume 132 (10), 2021, Pages 2371-2383

Removal of physiological artifacts from simultaneous EEG and fMRI recordings

Ian Daly

Brain-computer interfaces and Neural Engineering laboratory, School of Computer Science and Electronic Engineering, University of Essex, Wivenhoe Park, Colchester, Essex CO4 3SQ, United Kingdom.



Simultaneous recording of the electroencephalogram (EEG) and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) allows a combination of eletrophysiological and haemodynamic information to be used to form a more complete picture of cerebral dynamics. However, EEG recorded within the MRI scanner is contaminated by both imaging artifacts and physiological artifacts. The majority of the techniques used to pre-process such EEG focus on removal of the imaging and balistocardiogram artifacts, with some success, but don’t remove all other physiological artifacts.


We propose a new offline EEG artifact removal method based upon a combination of independent component analysis and fMRI-based head movement estimation to aid the removal of physiological artifacts from EEG recorded during EEG-fMRI recordings. Our method makes novel use of head movement trajectories estimated from the fMRI recording in order to assist with identifying physiological artifacts in the EEG and is designed to be used after removal of the fMRI imaging artifact from the EEG.


We evaluate our method on EEG recorded during a joint EEG-fMRI session from healthy adult participants. Our method significantly reduces the influence of all types of physiological artifacts on the EEG. We also compare our method with a state-of-the-art physiological artifact removal method and demonstrate superior performance removing physiological artifacts.


Our proposed method is able to remove significantly more physiological artifact components from the EEG, recorded during a joint EEG-fMRI session, than other state-of-the-art methods.


Our proposed method represents a marked improvement over current processing pipelines for removing physiological noise from EEG recorded during a joint EEG-fMRI session.

Keywords: fMRI, EEG, Artifact removal, ICA.

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